Father, In Jesus’ Name

John 16:23   (KJV)   23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

A day was prophesied and that day is now that we pray directly to the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus. When we, do God grants our prayers. The veil between us and God has been torn apart. We now boldly come before the throne of God. We do so not John 16.23 - Father, In Jesus' Namebecause of our own righteousness or accomplishment; it’s because of our Lord Jesus. Because of Him, there no longer remains anything that separates us from the Father.

We maintain a healthy balance of sincere humility and lion-like boldness. We’re not deserving of being in the presence of the greatest and perfectly holy Being; we can’t help but approach His awesome presence with utter lowliness of heart. At the same time, we don’t cower away, knowing that we have an advocate to our Father. He is worthy.  It’s because of Him and in His Name that we have access to our heavenly Father.

In the lighter side of things, some people ask, “Do we pray to the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?”. As expected, answers vary. Here’s one passage telling us to pray directly to the Father—in Jesus’ Name. Of course, this is not the only Scripture though that addresses the issue. For now, we just pray the best we know how, and it’s been an awesome experience so far.

God-Glorifying Gifts

1 Peter 4:11   (KJV)   11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

We’re all gifted. Our extra-ordinarily gracious Father and God lavishes us with awesome gifts. He also enables us to use our gifts faithfully. This interplay of God’s amazing 1 Peter 4.11 - God-Glorifying Giftsgraciousness and our humble stewardship of His gifts result in the glorification of our Benefactor.

God knows, desires, and does what’s best for us. He chooses the kind of gifts we need. We gladly aceept the lot we’re given. No complains. The clay never questions the Potter. He Who knows everything, can do anything, and loves us most can be trusted with all we are.

We appreciate Him for being such a good and loving Father. We appreciate every gift He’s given us. And we show the sincerity of our delight and gratefulness through the way we care for and use His gifts. We don’t neglect them, misuse them, and abuse them. We give our best.

Although the influence of or pressure from the world is strong, our eyes are set: soli Deo gloria; we live for the glory of God alone. Sure, being rich and famous has a ring to it—a loud ring to many. Others go all out in using God’s gifts for their own aggrandizement. Not us; we understand that living for self-glorification is nothing compared to living for the honor or Him from Whom all our blessings flow—the greatest Being there is in existence.

When Everyone Believes

Isaiah 26:9   (KJV)   With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

For some, the only time they’ll learn what’s right is when the Lord finally returns to judge. For us, the only thing left to do is to wait for that time. We long for the Lord’s Isaiah 26.9 - When Everyone Believesreturn. For us, it will be glorious beyond description. For some, it will be a horrible awakening.

We desire doing our best in reaching the lost and sharing to them about the Lord so that they will experience the light of the glorious Gospel of the Kingdom—the Gospel of Salvation. There are some who respond wisely, but there are those who see and treat every word we speak and every approach we make as something offensive. Any additional effort on our part seems to just push them away even farther.

There are those who just don’t want to believe in God. Some go even to the extremes of not believing His existence; others just don’t want to trust in Him. They don’t believe what He says in His Word, that He’s the hope for our salvation. They don’t even want to accept the fact that they need salvation. That’s why they don’t like God, or Christians. We are the light that exposes their true status.

Everything though will come to light. When the Lord returns, they will know—albeit too late. As for us, we continue to yearn for Him. We meet Him through His Word and His Spirit. He lives in us, and we in Him. We yearn for His appearing, and one of these days, we will see Him face to face.

Restoration and Vindication

Micah 7:9   (KJV)   I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

We’re willing to submit ourselves to our heavenly Father’s discipline. Yes, we still sin. To say we no longer do makes liars out of us. Yes, we can still grieve the Holy Spirit. Yes, God Micah 7.9 - Restoration and Vindicationstill doesn’t like sin. Yes, God still doesn’t like us sinning. And yes, He still disciplines His children.

But we don’t beat ourselves on the head when we fall. It’s good that we don’t feel good about it when we do things that displease Him Who we want to please the most. Conviction is good. The worst thing is to feel easy, comfortable, and even okay about sinning. But when we offend our heavenly Dad, we don’t cower away and pull away from Him. We fall, but we rise; we don’t stay down—that’s what the righteous do.

We know that our heavenly Father is full of love and invites us to boldly come to His throne of grace so we can receive grace and mercy when we need it. He’s our Shepherd Who restores the souls of the contrite in heart. We don’t think about God no longer wanting to do anything for us just because we fail Him. True, we undergo the process of discipline, but even as He disciplines us, our Lord Jesus is also interceding for us. And in His own timing, He brings us forth to the light, and we see Him vindicate us against those who attack us, put us down, embarrass us, and mock us and our Father.

Spiritually-Minded

Romans 8:6   (KJV)  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

As God’s children, we think godly thoughts. We enjoy life and peace now, and we’re looking forward to life and peace with our Father for eternity. We understand we still have choices. We believers don’t lose our free will even after surrendering the throne of Competitionour lives to our Lord Jesus. We choose the focus of our thoughts. We’re also very much aware of the huge implications and repercussions of our choices. Our heavenly Father doesn’t spoil His children.

I pray that this won’t be an issue of intrigue; my prayer rather is that it will be a thought to at least ponder on. Jesus has already borne the penalty of our sins on the cross. In fact He Who knew no sin was made sin for us. That Jesus has taken the death penalty for us is an absolute truth. What is this death then that results from being carnally minded? It’s easy to choose one and reject the other. In doing so, others explain away whatever they prefer to reject.

Forbid the thought that they would question the efficacy of the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, so the trend is to deal with the death that results from carnal-mindedness. We’ve heard others interpret and teach that as death of a physical kind. And there’s no doubt, some sinful or even wrong choices can reap physical death as a consequence. But although there’s truth in it, it also misses the fact that physical death also comes even to the spiritually-minded people.

On the other hand, if the consequence of our godly thinking is life of the physical kind, what’s the necessity since we’re already physically alive? Unless it simply means continuation of our physical existence in our present condition, the other and I believe the more logical conclusion is that it also refers to life of spiritual kind. This becomes obvious when looking at the context of the passage. The entire chapter deals very much with our spirits. Without disrespect or preference of any denominational distinctive, we can safely conclude: 1. It’s absolutely and undeniably true that Jesus paid the sin-penalty of death; 2. It is also absolutely true that to be carnally minded—having our sinful nature control our mind—is or leads to death.

Whatever each of us believe; we may not all agree on one line of understanding, but the non-negotiable mandate or exhortation we can all agree and focus on is this: shun sinful nature that produces sinful thoughts, and yield to the precious Holy Spirit Who produces good, spiritual, right, and godly thoughts.

Strongly Deluded

2 Thessalonians 2:11   (KJV)   11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

For God to send strong delusion for people to believe lies sounds very “unGodlike.” But the statement isn’t a point blank no-context declaration.  The people God causes to be greatly deceived are those who refuse to love the truth.  They refuse the truth that saves.  2 Thessalonians 2.11 - Strongly DeludedWe may ask, why doesn’t God send them stronger convincing proofs and truths?  He already has, and He knows no greater revelation will convince them otherwise.

As sad as it may be, there are people we lovingly and sincerely pray for, but they’re just implacably set in their ways.  No amount of dialogue, conversations, love, reason, or evidence will make them change their minds.  They pursue their godless ways, influence others to doing the same, and even invent new ways to do evil.  In God’s patience, wisdom, justice, and gentleness, He lets them be, and turns them over to reprobate minds.

We won’t give up praying for everyone, no matter how hopeless, hardheaded, and hardhearted they may seem.  We don’t know if they’re unyielding; only God does.  We’ve often been surprised by God’s Spirit.  We’ve witnessed the most hardened criminals and even the most “hell-bent” terrorists come to their senses, humble themselves before God, and bow their knees to Him in full trust and surrender.  Most of us probably didn’t believe the first time we heard the Gospel.  We can’t really count the number of times Jesus through His Spirit knocked on the doors of our hearts before we finally opened up and invited Him to reside in us.

Praise God, He didn’t give up on us. Praise God, people didn’t stop praying for us.  We may have been considered cold, hardheaded, hardhearted, and inconvincible as well, but the “Hound of Heaven,” with His stubborn love, didn’t let go of us.  But here we are now—fruits of God’s love, patience, grace, and mercy, enjoying the blessings of those who met Him heart to heart, Spirit to spirit,” and soon, face to face.

Word, Power, and Character

1 Thessalonians 1:5   (KJV)   5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Words are innately powerful.  Combine that with the Holy Spirit, the power becomes infinitely multiplied (really hard to come up with the appropriate description because each of them is already infinite in their power).  Most probably, the context refers to a 1 Thessalonians 1.5 - Word, Power, and Charactermanifested and/or demonstrated and/or visible power.  Imagine the effectiveness and the credibility of a ministry that possesses both.

And even more, we have genuine lives—messengers who are full of integrity.  This shows us why a ministry becomes unquestionably effective, efficient, and expansive. These three powerful factors working together as we serve each other and reach out to the needy and “hopeless” is much better than missing even one of them.  God loves us greatly as His children that we are lavishly graced with all of them.  God loves those who we serve greatly that He wants them to have undeniable proofs of His reality so that they would turn to Him and also live the best life anyone can ever live—the life of a believer.